With so much to see, do, discover, learn, eat and drink in London, there are times when I almost forget that there is a whole wide, green, new (to me) country out there to discover! In the five months we’ve lived here, we’ve only left London without leaving the country once. This needed to change.
Luckily, my lovely friend Molly (of Navigating Newlyweds, check out her travels!) recommended the perfect day trip from London, where we could learn more about the history of England and see more of this beautiful country. She sent an itinerary by email on Thursday and come early Sunday morning, we were hopping a bus to make the train out to Salisbury for a day of exploring.
The train out to Salisbury from Clapham Junction takes a little under an hour and a half. Once you arrive, The Stonehenge Tour bus picks you up right from the station.
The Stonehenge Tour is fantastic. Not only do you get direct transportation to Stonehenge, Old Sarum and stops within Salisbury, but you also can purchase a ticket that includes admission to each site and they provide guided narration while you’re on the bus. It’s a great way to get the most out of your day trip from London.
The first stop on the tour is Stonehenge. We got pumped up for our trip by watching this retro documentary, which was super interesting. Any new research, discoveries or theories about this ancient site are endlessly fascinating to me. Back when I visited when I studied abroad, I was so excited to see Stonehenge and it was really remarkable to see it for myself.
I remembered it being very windy the last time I went. I was optimistic that it would be warmer this time, based on the weather report, but I was wrong. We were freezing and the wind was whipping. Dress warm!
It was really neat to be at the site having just watched that documentary, since we knew to look out for certain stones and features that they discussed. You can’t get up close to the stones, but the route takes you around the site and offers different vistas and vantage points. You can appreciate how huge the stones are and you do get up close and personal with the heel stone, which is a very important part of the Stonehenge puzzle.
They provide audio guides, but I accidentally dropped mine and it changed the settings. Because of that, the cold, and all we had just learned about Stonehenge in the documentary, we skipped the narration. If I were you, I would wear a hat for warmth and follow along with the guide!
The tour recommends two hours for Stonehenge. On Sundays, however, the Cathedral closes to the public at 4pm. Wanting to make sure we had enough time to see all of the sites, we rushed to get the first (warm) bus back. Had we dressed warmer, I would have loved to explore the burial mounds around Stonehenge. You are able to explore in the fields near it and it looks so cool!
We ran for the bus and just made it. Be warned than an hour for Stonehenge is really cutting it close! Because we caught the earlier bus, we decided we to get off at the Old Sarum stop and check it out.
Once there, you immediately understand why that particular spot had been a fort since the Iron Age.
We almost skipped visiting it, and I am so glad we didn’t. It doesn’t take much time to explore the site, and it is amazing to see what remains of the old castle. There is enough left there to let your imagination run wild. The old moat, the remains of the tower, and the beautiful views over modern Salisbury… you find yourself wishing there was still a castle, and wondering what it might look like today.
It was a truly unique place and I enjoyed the way it was set up – you could wander around and read the sign posts if you wanted, enjoying beautiful views as you went. The people working there were so nice and helpful, too!
I love taking pictures of old ruins, so I hope you enjoy!
After our wanderings (which took us by some sheep!), we caught the bus back to Salisbury with plenty of time to explore the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral. We grabbed a quick snack and headed toward the cathedral, which has the tallest spire in the UK.
It is magnificent. As you approach, you can’t help but be awed by the beauty of the stone and detail and its vast size.
There are many important and large churches to see in England and Europe, and I love seeing how different each one is. Of the ones we’ve toured so far, Salisbury Cathedral seems like it has an active local church community which stands in contrast to the other more touristy churches we have seen.
The cathedral is stunning, but I think the highlight of visiting Salisbury Cathedral is the Magna Carta. Seeing such a well-preserved copy of the Magna Carta was way cooler than I expected. You unfortunately can’t take pictures of it, but I would highly recommend going to see it. It is the best preserved of the original copies left in the world.
After we toured the beautiful cathedral, we were doing so great on time that we decided to go for a walk around Salisbury along the river before getting our Sunday supper.
Our last stop on our day trip tour was a spot Molly recommended for a Sunday Roast – the Haunch of Venison! It was fantastic, the staff were so nice and the ambiance couldn’t be beat. It was an old, rustic pub and the perfect place to get some grub before the long ride home.